SAFC Managing Director to address small business owners at conference

One Sunderland Autumn Conference

Mike Dodds and Sue Stott of One Sunderland

SUNDERLAND football club managing director Tony Davison will discuss the need to encourage visitors to the city to boost local businesses at a special conference next month.

Mr Davison will be one of a host of speakers at the One Sunderland Small Business Autumn Conference, which plans to highlight the need for a clear strategy to support SMEs in the city.

The conference, on October 18, will see more than 70 business owners taking part. It will kick-off three events to help SMEs find out more about growing their business as part of Small Business Sunderland – a campaign that will lead up to Small Business Saturday in December.

One Sunderland, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Make It Sunderland and the North East BIC have joined forces to help direct SMEs to new opportunities and how to make the most of them.

The small business conference will include high profile speakers as well as a panel of guests made up of the FSB, North East Growth Hub, North East BIC, Sunderland Council and North East Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Dodds, joint founder of One Sunderland, which was set up to offer a free framework to signpost support for start-up businesses, said: “The discussions will centre around what it’s like to do business here in Sunderland and how we can work together to make things better. Everyone agrees that things could be a lot better.

“Brexit will be among the discussions, but as no one knows the outcome we need to be prepared for whatever happens. We need to think more creatively, which is why we invited Tony Davison. We need to use all assets in the city for the wider good of businesses and the wider economy and communities here.”

Simon Hanson, the North East Development Manager of the FSB, which is sponsoring the event, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the conference, because we recognise that small businesses in Sunderland need support. The city is one of the poorest performers in terms of SME survival in the region, which has to be addressed.”

Entry to the conference – which starts at 9:30am to 2:30pm – is £5 per person and includes refreshments and lunch as well as networking.

Mr Dodds said there were still opportunities for small businesses to promote their companies through the conference brochure and networking throughout the conference.

For more information, contact 07966 553284 and to book tickets, visit

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